In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Alex Kipman, general manager of hardware incubation in the Interactive Entertainment Business; the latest news from Tech North America; Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10.

A career of thriving on ‘Impossible Projects’ – including Kinect for Xbox 360. Alex Kipman, 32, has now led three major innovations at Microsoft and recently received the company’s highest technical honor, the Technical Recognition Award for Outstanding Technical Leadership. The award citation called out not just his technical chops but the determination he brought to the Kinect project that many saw as a seemingly impossible challenge. To read more about Alex, check out this feature story on the Microsoft News Center. Below, Alex (third from left) takes a break on the Microsoft campus with teammates (from left) Jeffrey Margolis, Ben Sugden and Katie Stone Perez.

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TechEd 2012. On Tuesday at TechEd North America, Microsoft detailed the value Windows 8 brings to businesses through enhanced fundamentals, new enterprise features and strong application compatibility. The company also announced updates to several Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products to help organizations manage, secure and enhance the Windows experience. For more on this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center and this Monday post from Server & Tools President Satya Nadella on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Activating Windows 8 contracts in your app. When you start writing Metro style apps you’ll quickly come across contracts, a new and powerful concept in Windows 8. Metro style apps use contracts to declare interactions they support with other apps and with Windows. You’ve probably already heard about some of them: search, share, etc. Using contracts, apps become better by working with the system or with each other when users install more apps that implement contracts. In this Monday post on Building Windows 8, Derek Gebhard, a program manager on our User Experience team, walks you through activation, one of the main concepts to think about as you add contracts to your apps. Also, don’t miss this June 8 Building Windows 8 post on building a rich and extensible media platform in Windows 8.

The Windows 8 Dev Center: everything you need to design, build, and sell a Metro style app. For Windows 8, we completely reimagined not just the platform, but also how we share app development info with you. Launched 9 months ago, the Windows Dev Center is the one place where you can find all the info and resources you need to get going. Whether you’re new to development, seeking inspiration for the next great app, or you’re simply stuck and need help, you can find it here. Read more about it over on the Windows 8 App Developer Blog. Also, developers won’t want to miss this May 31 post on what’s changed for app developers since the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

High quality visuals for pinned sites in Windows 8. Pinned Sites in Windows 8 describes how site developers can provide a site icon (favicon) for their sites’ pinned site tiles on the Windows 8 Start screen. Many of you shared feedback that you’d like to provide higher-resolution visuals to better depict your site brand on your users’ pinned site tiles. In Windows 8 Release Preview, you can to do that: we’ve added the ability for you to provide a PNG tile image and specify the tile’s background color. Read this June 8 post on the IEBlog for the rest of the story. Also, don’t miss this June 8 IEBlog post on moving the stable Web forward in the IE10 Release Preview.

Solr and LucidWorks: enterprise search for Windows Azure. Last week’s Windows Azure release delivered a host of new services for developers, ranging from hybrid cloud capabilities and Linux virtual machine support to OSS technologies delivered as a service from many vendors. Gianugo Rabellino covered the high-level view of all the exciting new offerings, and now we’d like to take a closer look at a service that’s likely to become very popular: LucidWorks Cloud for Windows Azure. Head on over to the Interoperability @ Microsoft Blog for the whole story.

That’s it for this latest edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for stopping by The Official Microsoft Blog.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog